song written by Charles Mingus
, and one of the few instances of political jazz music
. "Fables of Faubus" was written in 1959 as a protest against Arkansas
governor Orval Faubus
, who had a few years earlier attempted to prevent nine students
from entering a high school
in Little Rock
. Originally, the song was to contain the following lyrics
, many of which are in the form of a dialogue between Mingus
and his drummer Dannie Richmond
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!
Name me someone ridiculous, Dannie.
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won't permit integrated schools.
Then he's a fool!
Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)
Name me a handful that's ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?
Two, four, six, eight: They brainwash and teach you hate.
However, Mingus' producer (Columbia Records) ultimately forced him to omit these lyrics because of concerns that the content was too risque. As a result, "Fables of Faubus" as it appears on his 1959 album "Mingus Ah Um" is an entirely instrumental song.
Mingus was not satisfied with this, however. In 1962 he launched his own record company in order to publish an LP containing the lyrical version of the song, which he entitled "Original Faubus Fables." This record company fizzled shortly after the LP was released, but it nonetheless served to start a trend among jazz musicians whereby they could dodge restrictions imposed by their record producers.